Archive for May 17th, 2022

Henry Moore Sculpture

It is a mistake for a sculptor or a painter to speak or write very often about his job. It releases tension needed for his work.

Henry Moore

I haven’t been writing much here as of late as I prep for my upcoming Principle Gallery show, which has provided a big boost in starting my day’s work. The break has been great but it has made writing or speaking about the work even more difficult. That’s usually not the case for me as I can usually speak or write about my work freely and easily.

Maybe it’s the pandemic and its isolating effects. I don’t speak much about my work with anyone much these days and writing s often a one-way street. I don’t really know but I can certainly feel the difficulty.

I had a phone interview several weeks back for an article/preview of my Principle Gallery show that will be appearing in the June issue of American Art Collector. I have done quite a few of these interviews over the years and have never had much of a problem in communicating about my work on these occasions. But this one was terrible. I was flustered the whole time, spouting disjointed inanities, and felt like crap after the call ended. I am hoping they disregard everything I said or at least shape them into some comprehensible form.

I am sure this will pass but it brought to mind a post from back in 2015 about Henry Moore’s words about how it is a mistake for an artist to speak or write too much about one’s work.

Maybe I am just following his sage advice. Here’s that post again.

Came across this quote from the great British sculptor Henry Moore and it struck me on two accounts, both in the words about an artist talking too much about his job and the other in the need for tension. I am aware and worry about both things quite often.

Talking and writing about my work has been a normal thing for me for years now and, while I think it has helped me express myself in many ways especially in the way it acts as a confessional in which I can air out my anxieties, I have often feared that my willingness to be transparent will detract from my work in some way. In times when I am less than confident, I fear that my words will somehow expose me as a fraud or, at least, point out the more obvious flaws in my character.

Even as I write this, I am questioning the very act of doing so.

But I do it. And will probably continue to do so.  It’s become part of who I am at this point, even on those days when I find myself questioning the wisdom in it.

As for tension being needed for the work, that is something I have believed for myself for a long time. Tension pushes me, makes me stretch forward out of my comfort zone. Tension has been the igniter for every personal breakthrough in my work, creating an absolute need to find new imagery or new ways to use materials.

There are times when I feel that I have become too comfortable in the materials and processes that I employ, and that people have become too accustomed to seeing my work. I feel stagnant, stalled at a plateau. It is in these times when tension, even fear, begins to build in me and I begin to scan in all directions for a new way of seeing or a new material in which to work. The tension becomes a burning need to prove myself.

This tension is not a comfortable thing. But I know it is a necessary condition in order for my work to continue to grow, which is what I want and need. To the casual observer it would seem to be a good thing to reach a point where you are comfortable and satisfied in what you do but when I don’t feel that tension I begin to worry.

Odd as it may seem, I see that anxiety as a means of finding a path forward or an open door to be found. It puts me on edge and raises my awareness, which often ultimately reveals something useful.

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